Passport rules force deadbeat parents to pay up

Filed under: Divorce & Custody, Places To Go, Sex

I know a few people who have been inconvenienced by the new passport rules. Travelers to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and South America must now have a passport, otherwise you don't get in. This has caused lots more people to apply for passports and resulted in a longer wait time to receive one.

But, eventually you get your passport and life goes on. Unless you owe more than $2,500 in back child support. In that case, you must pay up before you will be issued a passport. This Passport Denial Program has been responsible for collecting $22.5 million in back child support so far this year. Once the money is collected, it is forwarded to the parent to whom it is owed and the other parent can then reapply for a passport.

"For us, it's been amazing to see how people who owe back child support seem to be able to come up with good chunks of money when it involves needing their passport," said Adolfo Capestany, spokesman for the state of Washington's Division of Child Support. "Folks will do anything to get that passport, so it is a good collection tool."

I wasn't aware of this program, but I think it is fantastic. And for those who are still owed child support, things look good in the future as well. Even more new passport requirements for land and sea travelers will take effect in the next few years and likely contribute to even more support debt being paid.

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